NEW YORK Wall Street stocks were steady, U.S Treasury debt yields fell sharply, and oil prices rose to their highest level of the year on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve announced it would keep U.S. interest rates unchanged.
The Fed left their policy interest rate target at the previous level of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent as expected, and while it left the door open to a rate rise in June, its statement implied that it was in no hurry to follow on from its December rate rise.
The statement helped U.S. stocks recover some early losses, lowered long term bond yields and boosted crude oil prices.
The U.S. central bank's policy-setting committee said the labour market had improved further despite slowed economic activity, adding that it was keeping a close eye on inflation. It also removed references to worries about the global economy from its statement.
The S&P 500 stock index and Dow Jones Industrial Average turned positive following the announcement, while the Nasdaq remained in negative territory, weighed by disappointing earnings from Apple and Twitter late Tuesday.
Oil prices turned upward, with Brent crude LCOc1, the international benchmark, up more than 3.0 percent to $47.23, its highest since early November. U.S. crude rose 2.75 percent to $45.27 a barrel and had earlier rallied on expectations for a drop in crude oil inventories, but U.S. crude inventories rose sharply, reducing oil's gains.
Apple APPL.O shares were down 6.4 percent after the company reported its first drop in iPhone sales and its first decline in revenue in more than a decade. Twitter (TWTR.N) tumbled more than 15 percent after quarterly revenue lagged expectations.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 35.78 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,026.1, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.94 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2,090.76 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 46.86 points, or 0.96 percent, to 4,841.42.
The Nasdaq's information technology sector fell 1.4 percent, with Facebook (FB.O) and Alphabet (GOOGL.O) also lower.
The U.S. dollar briefly turned positive after the Fed statement, but reversed those gains not long afterward. The dollar .DXY was last down 0.2 percent against a basket of currencies to 94.380.
"At first glance (the statement) looked a little bit hawkish, but as expected it's pretty much a non-event," said Stephen Casey, senior foreign exchange trader and market analyst in New York.
"I think we did see some surprises in that they're turning their focus back inward on the domestic economy, eliminating most of that language concerning the outside effects. But for me, this really goes to the credibility of the Fed. They're very wish-washy at the moment."
Benchmark U.S. 10-year government notes US10YT=RR were up 20/32 in price with a yield of 1.859 percent, as the yield curve flattened with investors pricing in the possibility of two hikes from the Fed this year, as opposed to one.
Fed funds futures rates show traders see a 23 percent chance of a rate increase in June and a 42 percent probability of two hikes this year, up from 34 percent on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Dion Rabouin; editing by Clive McKeef)
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